In July 1942, an American press representative asked Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, “whether the Muslims were a nation or not”. The Quaid said, “We are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art…” Unfortunately, after attaining the status of an independent state in the form of Pakistan, there remained a crisis of national integration in Pakistan, which has severely affected its political stability, social integration and economic stability. In the absence of a national unity and integration there remained challenges for the national security of Pakistan. In a way, there is a direct relationship between national unity (national integration) and national security.
In wordings of scholars, the ‘National security is the ability to preserve a nation’s physical integrity and territory; to maintain its economic relations with the rest of the world on reasonable terms; to preserve its nature, institution, and governance from disruption from outside; and to control its borders.’ Harvard University professor Charles views the national security through lens of national power. He defines the defines the “National security… is best described as a capacity to control those domestic and foreign conditions that the public opinion of a given community believes necessary to enjoy its own self-determination or autonomy, prosperity and wellbeing.”
The current dominant discourse on national security in Pakistan is based not only upon regional and international realities but also on the issues of identities, democracy and issues related to the social transformation of society. The society of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has fragmentation along ethnic, religious and linguistic lines. The cohesiveness of these entities is crucial to build an integrated nation. An absence of this process on the contrary could threaten the very existence of the state. Unfortunately, Pakistan has been subverted from within and nation is struggling for a unified identity to mark its political culture. Pakistan is an Islamic ideological state and it should safeguard its ideology overtly, for it is the repository of its nationalism, national spirit, interest and power.
Any programme for national integration would pre-suppose a graceful acceptance and realistic recognition of the fact that Pakistan is a multi-cultural/lingual and ethno-national nation-state and society. Pakistan’s ethnicity can be transformed into a positive asset. Cultural co-existence resulting from cultural confluence and interaction is the answer for Pakistan. Pakistan has developed culture of political intolerance and by passed the true Islamic ideology and as a result, having no de facto national integration. Pakistan should plan the remedial measures so that its national security can be ensured through national integration. True democracy with the involvement of people of Pakistan is the binding force between national security and integration.
Though nations take years and years towards nation building, yet there are symptoms of social transformation and national unity. This process of transformation of nation into a proud and prosperous nation is just not a complex assignment. It needs dedication, statesmanship and nationhood. We may take even centuries and heavy cost before attaining such landmark. On the contrary the process of nations’ disintegration is swift and simple in nature, needing no expertise. One wrong decision at strategic level can quash a nation’s achievements of one hundred years. The history of Pakistan is full of such irrational decisions – like relying too much dependence on the U.S. for meeting the country’s domestic political, economic and defence needs; joining of Afghan war and WOT without doing cost-benefit analysis; and resorting to elitists model of economy – which never allowed the process of our nation making.
Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had a vision. As a visionary leader, he believed that the state’s first duty towards the people is to maintain law and order so that the life and property of its masses are protected. A state’s internal peace and stability is the most important ingredient towards nations’ building. A safe and secure country provides a platform to all the state’s institutions to flourish and perform their functions to their optimum capacity. Safety and security shall also attract the domestic and foreign investors to put their money for good return, ultimately befitting the state and its people.
The factor which serves as a catalyst in the recipe of a nation’s building is the technological advancement through education. The investment in education sector provides solution to the causes of a state’s failure as reflected in the ignorance theory of nations’ inequality. Low education breeds poor leadership – ill-informed, illiterate, inefficient, ill-advised and ignorant of the worth of the national wealth – ultimately dragging their country to a dismal situation, whereas education produces enlightened and informed leaders, advisors, think-tanks and policymakers, capable of taking the country out of crisis.
The element of governance (good governance) is yet another constituent component of making a proud and prosperous nation. A state’s responsibility is much beyond just managing the affairs of the state by virtue of the constitutionally vested authority and maintaining writ of the government or the law and order. A state’s machinery is required to provide good governance, ensuring the optimum functioning of the state’s institutions especially those linked with provision of publicservices. Realizing its significance, all progressive nations have adopted the good governance as a key concept and intriguing theory in their development.
The wholesome behaviour of Pakistan in the domestic affairs and international arena is the mixture of its economic, political, social and security paradoxes. Therefore, the states’ elite, advisors and analysts should discuss all in sync, rather in isolation. All the institutions of Pakistan should have close linkage – especially political, economic and security – and complement each other through their internal institutional performance. The institutional failure is a contagious disease which badly affects the other states’ pillars as well. On the other hand an institution progress shall lead to sympathetic detonation on other institutions, trigging the process of national unity, integration, prosperity and finally providing guarantees for the security of Pakistan.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.